Monday, April 15, 2024

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Scathing Satire “Who is America?” Scores Just 327,000 Viewers


Showtime didn’t do much to promote Sacha Baron Cohen‘s new show “Who is America?” And it shows. Just 327,000 people watched it on Sunday night.

The only real publicity the show had was on the Drudge Report, of all places. But there was no premiere, no screenings, no build up. Showtime relied on outrage and word of mouth. It didn’t work.

The show that followed, Stephen Colbert’s “Our Cartoon President,” had 186,000 viewers. I watched it, and loved it. But I had no idea what it was when it came on. I guess no one else did, too.

What is the Showtime strategy? They just don’t care about publicity or press. I don’t get it.

Cohen was trounced at 10pm.  “Mexico Life” was among the shows on cable that did five or six times the business. (1.9 million viewers). Something called “On the Case with PZ” on Discovery had 1.5 million. “History of Comedy” on CNN had 764K. That’s twice as many as Cohen’s show.

“Who is America?” should be appealing to the “Borat” and “Ali G” audience, as well as a young, hip demo. But Showtime can’t seem to reach these people. This happened last year with “Twin Peaks.” It was ignored. And “Billions,” one of the best shows on TV or cable, has equally low ratings and no love from the Emmy Awards. Frustrating!

Why wasn’t “Who is America?” on HBO? That’s what I’d like to know. It’s perfect for them. Maybe the Time Warner-ATT Merger made it too hot…

UPDATE: Showtime says “Who is America?” actually was seen by over 1 million people when include all platforms including several showings that were streamed and beamed and telegraphed. But basically, “Who is America?” didn’t make the top 25 cable shows on Sunday night. It was a bust.



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News